Only Murders in the Building’s first season was surprisingly perfect. Everything hung together, from the pitch-perfect New York City-based humor to the podcast satire to Charles’s new girlfriend Jan turning out to be the murderer in the building. Since the arrival of Season 2, audiences have wondered if a second case could work out as well as the first, and with the penultimate episode, the show has revealed a wild twist that swings for the fences. If you’re asking who Becky Butler is after Only Murders Episode 9, you’re not the only one.
Warning: Spoilers for Only Murders In The Building Season 2, Episode 9 follow. Season 2’s penultimate episode, “Sparring Partners,” revealed several large twists pointing to a suspect high on the radar since the show’s first two episodes: Cinda Canning. But the twists to get to this rather obvious answer are confusing enough to require some explanation. Rewinding to Only Murders In the Building Season 1, Episode 1, the three protagonists — Charles, Oliver, and Mabel — were brought together because they all love Cinda Canning’s hit podcast All Is Not OK In Oklahoma. It kicked off a crazed passion for solving true crime stories in all three.
Cinda Canning was initially conceived as a parody of Sarah Koenig, whose podcast, Serial, was a massive hit when it dropped in 2014. Serial kicked off the style of podcast in which a single true-crime story unfolds throughout a multi-episode season. The show’s in-world podcast, Only Murders In The Building, started by Charles, Oliver, and Mabel, takes the format further, solving the crime in real time as they record.
But since Cinda’s return in Season 2, it’s been evident that she has it out for Charles, Oliver, and Mabel. Her new podcast is Only Murderers In the Building, which started as a throwaway joke in Season 1, the idea of a podcast investigating the investigators of a competing podcast. Her focus on Mabel, which at times has felt rooted in the “older woman threatened by the younger one coming up behind her” trope, made her an obvious suspect. That only grew after the arrival of “Glitter Guy,” whose goading of Mabel in the subway seemed designed to make her look guilty.
However, when Glitter Guy was revealed last week as Officer Kreps, it seemed like these were two unrelated incidents. Kreps was investigating the investigators, perhaps hoping for a lead in the case of Bunny Folger. And Bunny’s murderer and the person setting up Mabel and her friends were probably not related, right? Wrong.
As the show revealed in Episode 9, Kreps is in love with Cinda; they met while investigating the case of Becky Butler, the girl who disappeared in Oklahoma, kicking off the case Cinda covered in All Is Not OK. To make matters even *more* confusing, Cinda’s assistant Poppy isn’t just her badly-abused PA in desperate need of a union. She’s secretly Becky Butler! It’s likely Cinda knows this, and Kreps covered it up for so that her podcast could tell a better story, making Cinda a fraud.
Moreover, it throws a confusing wrench in the current case. Cinda is clearly only too happy to set things up to create a good narrative for her podcast. But what in heaven’s name was she doing trying to get the Rose Cooper painting? Did she want it to set Charles up much further? How far has she been going to gather evidence to manipulate into perfect cliffhanger reveals at the end of every episode? Was it necessary to distract viewers with a “Poppy is not who she says she is” at the last minute when there are so many more questions to answer?
Only Murders In The Building Season 2 will have much explaining to do in its finale to make this all make sense. The final episode streams Tuesday, Aug. 23, on Hulu.